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Turfs marked, ID war ends

delhi Updated: Jan 26, 2012 01:17 IST
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A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday came out with a formula to end the tug-of-war between the home ministry and the Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI over collection of biometrics of more than 1 billion people in the country.

It was decided to work out a mechanism to enable the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the home ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) to split the task of biometric enrollment.

The formula will be vetted by a cabinet panel on Friday.

“I think we've come to an agreement on how both projects can proceed together without any difficulty,” planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said after the meeting attended by key government leaders, including home minister P Chidambaram and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Previous attempts to resolve the differences between the home ministry and plan panel had failed.

There were fears that the UIDAI and the NPR could end up duplicating the work of collecting biometric data of a billion people. At Wednesday's meeting, Mukherjee suggested the idea of finding a way to split the work, sources said.

The UIDAI would collect biometric details — iris scan, photograph and fingerprints — of people in 13 states, including Jharkhand, Tripura and Delhi while the NPR would move into states along the coasts, international borders and where the UIDAI has no presence.

The govt would have to change the rules for collecting NPR data to enable the home ministry to accept data of people enrolled by the UIDAI. The home ministry had refused to change these rules, saying they were time-tested and finalised, keeping security considerations in view.